Tuesday, October 4, 2016

     SEPTEMBER 2, 2016 was a big, really big, day for bluegrass and Americana music fans in Tennessee and wherever radio waves can travel. At noon on that date, WMOT FM 89.5, the 100,000-watt station which originates from the campus of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro, TN, changed its format from classical to roots radio. How good is that! Oh yeah, very good! The event was broadcast from the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. This writer just happened to catch the event which was listed on the WPLN FM 90.3 (public radio in Nashville) daily internet blog.
New Logo for WMOT FM 89.5 Roots Radio in Middle Tennessee
     Suddenly, there were musicians coming 'live at me from my computer--musicians whom I had grown to know and love since discovering bluegrass music in the early 1980s at the Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack in Lucy, a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee. There was Randy Kohrs, Mike Bub, Jim Van Cleve, Alison Brown, our longtime friend Richard Bailey, and Tammy Rogers, along with Suzy Bogguss, Will Hoge, and Mike Farris, to drop a few very popular names in Nashville Music.
     Thanks to Dr. Sidney McPhee, President of MTSU, Martin Fisher at the Center for Popular Music at MTSU, Ken Paulson, Keith Bilbrey, Craig Havighurst and Jim Lauderdale of Music City Roots (from The Factory, Franklin, Tennessee), Val Hoeppner, and so many more who are behind the scenes and making the transition work so well. We who love and write about bluegrass, old-time, and traditional music, are more than grateful for the exciting change in radio programming at WMOT FM.89.5. It happened right there on the campus of MTSU, home of my beloved Blue Raiders. We know that there are great things to come from WMOT FM 89.5 Roots Radio!
For more information:
WMOT-FM  http://www.wmot.org  Also on HD Radio
Music City Roots  http://www.musiccityroots.com
Pick away and don't touch that dial! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

JULY 28, 2016
Photos from an earlier concert at Bartlett (TN) Performing Arts and Conference Center
No photos were allowed at the Franklin Theatre
     MAURA O'CONNELL and KARAN CASEY brought the fresh breezes of Ireland to Franklin, TN, and that's not the half of it! They brought along multi-instrumentalists JOHN MOCK and SEAN OG GRAHAM, the latter of whom arrived in Tennessee from Ireland mere hours before he performed with the group at The Franklin Theatre. These artists, separately and together, are nothing short of amazing! We are so glad we went to the concert!

Maura is from Ennis, County Clare in Ireland. She is a singer and actress who now calls America home. She has declared US citizenship. Welcome, Maura! Her modern interpretations of Irish folk songs have dazzled folks all over the world. Maura began her singing career at home in Ireland and later became the vocalist for the Celtic group called De Dannan. Wishing to experiment with music, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and met Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg, and Edgar Meyer, among others. Talk about starting at the top! Oh my! She made wonderful albums with songs that have become her stand-by tunes: Trouble in the Fields, Summer Fly, Western Highway, Feet of a Dancer, and Blue Train, to name but a few. Maura resides in Nashville with her husband and her son.
     Karan is from Kilmeaden, County Waterford in Ireland. She is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer. A former member of the Irish band Solas, Karan began singing in church and at school. Karan has more recently pursued a solo career which has taken her back and forth from Ireland to America. She recently released the album"Two More Hours," in which she wrote all the songs. The album also features Irish singer Mick Flannery, Abigail Washburn, and Aoife O'Donovan. You may recognize Karan Casey and Maura O'Connell (along with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Aoife O'Donovan and others) from the ground-breaking DVD project by Dobro(r) master and producer Jerry Douglas, called "The Trans-Atlantic Sessions". Karan and her husband have two daughters.
     Here are the selections for that magical evening in which Maura and Karan were accompanied by John Mock and Sean Og Graham. We shall add a few notes along where necessary:
Mick McGilligan's Ball (duet, Maura/Karan); The King's Shilling (anti-war song); The Salley Gardens (from the poem by W. B. Yeats); an Irish lullabye which we couldn't begin to spell in Gaelic; Shades of Gloria (by singer-songwriter Gerry O'Beirne, who has performed in Memphis at a house concert); Down the Dusty Way; New Dawn, New Day (Karan); One I Love (a Jean Ritchie song); Summer Fly (a Cheryl Wheeler song); a song in Gaelic to a 16-year-old daughter, to which Karan said she could relate; Trouble in the Fields (written by Nanci Griffith, Maura/Karan duet); John Mock instrumental; A Far Cry (written by Malcolm Holcomb); The Poor Man's House (written by Patty Griffin); Mary (also by Patty Griffin, Mary who was covered in roses, to whom Jesus said "I couldn't stay another day longer"); Home (written by Poet Laureate Paula Meehan); Still Standing (written by Janis Ian); May the Rain Always Fall Soft Upon Your Fields (written by Jonell Mosser, dedicated to Jesse and Mac who were in the audience--the song is a traditional Irish blessing); ENCORE: Leaving Neidin (written by Jimmy McCarthy about a beautiful place known as The Silver Tear, which is between Kerry and Cork in Ireland).
Catch all of these fine artists any time and anywhere you can. To paraphrase Maura O'Connell, "Miss them at your peril!!!"
For more information:
Maura O'Connell   www.mauraoconnell.com
Karan Casey          www.karancasey.com
John Mock             www.johnmock.net
Sean Og Graham   Twitter @ SeanOgGraham
Franklin Theatre    www.franklintheatre.com

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Entertainer of the Year - The Earls of Leicester
Female Vocalist - Becky Buller
Male Vocalist - Danny Paisley
Vocal Group - Flatt Lonesome
Instrumental Group - Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
Song - "You're the One," Flatt Lonesome
Album - "Runaway Train," Flatt Lonesome
Gospel Recorded Performance - "All Dressed Up," Joe Mullins & Radio Ramblers
Instrumental Recorded Performance - "Fireball," Special Consensus, featuring Rob Ickes, Trey Hensley, and Alison Brown
Emerging Artist - Mountain Faith
Recorded Event - "Longneck Blues," Junior Sisk and Ronnie Bowman
Banjo - Charlie Cushman
Bass - Barry Bales
Dobro(R) - Jerry Douglas
Fiddle - Becky Buller
Guitar - Bryan Sutton
Mandolin - Sierra Hull
Bluegrass Hall of Fame Inductees: Clarence White, The Rounder Founders: Ken Irwin, Marian Leighton Levy, and Bill Nowlin
Distinguished Achievement Award: "Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine," Boston Bluegrass Union, Sirius XM Radio's "Bluegrass Junction," Bill Emerson, and Jim Rooney
Congratulations to one and all!
Pick away!